I’m sure most of you heard about the so called elevator pitch. Your potential chance to pitch your idea to the head of production, because she is forced to spend a 30 seconds elevator ride with you.

As unlikely as this scenario might be, you and your story really need this pitch. For several reasons.

  • Someone asks you, what you write about and you don’t want to bore or confuse them.
  • You pitch your story to a competition or a publisher.
  • To get a better feeling for your story yourself.
  • If it happens, that the head of production is stuck with you in the elevator…

Let’s first explore how to create your pitch.

Create your pitch

As always, I’m by far not the first one to write about this, so you might consider some additional resources. Abbie Emmons has a very nice YouTube video on how to respond, when someone politely asks you what you write about. Following her excellent advice, you should know (and speak about)

  • Genre and Audience
  • Theme
  • Premise

There you go with your middlegrade fantasy novel about sharing, where strawberries are so magical, that you collect them to gain power (I totally made that up, it’s not a thing — yet).

In her courses Holly Lisle lets you create ‘the sentence’ not only for your story, but for each scene and it couldn’t be more helpful. Consider the following:

Protagonist with his goal versus Antagonist with her goal in a setting have a conflict and there is a twist.

Back to our magical strawberries (because, why not):
There is apprentice Emily who would love to make strawberry jam, but her selfish master forbids every non-magical use of his guarded strawberry field, although the berries will turn bad after summer and nobody knows what will happen to their magic.

Refine your pitch

Especially for longer lasting projects, your pitch might stay around quite a while. Use your time and experience with your story, to add or remove words and information. Use comparisons to well known stories (books or movies) and use feedback to form something like the ultimate pitch for your story.

Practice your pitch

In case someone asks you about your writing, you don’t want to search for your notes. Know your pitch and proudly present it on occasions.

Much more than a title, you want to create a pitch for every piece of fiction you create. This gives you practice and an overview on your work.

Use your pitch when submitting to competitions or calls. Take it as a very short blurb, i.e. on your authors page.

Pitch before writing

This is for everyone out there who doubts that their stories are interesting enough for others to read. Even as a pantser, you might want to work on your pitch before putting your first sentence down on paper. Some recommend that you even work on your exposée beforehand to eliminate weaknesses before investing thousands of words into a subplot leading nowhere.

Most people seem to hate to come up with a rather short and catchy summary of their work. Take is as an opportunity. For you, to get to know better for what is really important to your story. For those who ask, let them grasp your idea and don’t lead them into lengthly descriptions of plots and world building.

How do you feel about writing pitches? Do you have some favorites? And who is going to stop me from writing about magical strawberry collectors?


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